Apple overtook Samsung as largest smartphone brand in 2023, research shows

News, Smartphones

Latest research from Omdia has found that in the fourth quarter of 2023, the smartphone preliminary shipment total reached 328 million units.

This marks an 8.6% increase compared to 4Q22, and highlights 4Q23 as the first quarter to see a significant increase since 2Q21. It is also an 8.6% increase compared to the previous quarter.

This growth signals an end to nine consecutive quarters of year-on-year declines in overall smartphone shipments, a sign that the industry is stabilizing after a period of strong smartphone demand between 4Q20 and 3Q21, followed by supply chain problems in 2022.

Every single major OEM recorded year-on-year growth other than Samsung, with Xiaomi, Transsion and Huawei all having significant growth of more than 20%. Despite this growth, Omdia research shows that the 2023 shipment total reached 1,164.7 million units, a 3.5% fall from the 1,207.2 million total for 2022.

With the launch of the iPhone 15 series, Apple recorded the highest shipment total for 4Q23, with 78.7 million units. This is a 6.5% increase from the previous year, with the launch of the iPhone 14 series. This is the largest quarter for Apple since 4Q21.

Samsung recorded 53.2 million unit shipments in 4Q23, a 9% fall from 4Q22. This means that Samsung is the only major smartphone OEM that has had lower shipments every quarter of 2023 than the same quarter in 2022. This resulting fall indicates that the 2023 total for Samsung is 12.9% lower than 2022 – 225.3 million in 2023 compared to 258.5 million in 2022.

Xiaomi has retained its shipment figures from the previous quarter, recording 41.2 million unit shipments in 4Q23. This is a slight 1.4% dip from the 41.8 million in 3Q23, but a significant 24.1% increase from 4Q22. This is a good sign that Xiaomi is recovering from a sustained period of falling market share, even among a falling overall market. By keeping these shipment numbers, Xiaomi is retaining and strengthening its position as the third largest OEMs globally. This is not to say that it is immune to competition, there is still stiff rivalry from other Chinese OEMs Oppo, vivo, and increasingly, Transsion Holdings.

Says Jusy Hong, Senior Research Manager, Omdia:

“The smartphone business in 2023 was determined by the products and regional markets each brand focuses on. While Apple, which concentrated on the premium market, recorded relatively good performance despite a decrease in overall market demand, the performance of major Chinese OEMs highly concentrated in the Chinese and Indian markets decreased significantly compared to the previous year due to the impact of the slump in smartphone demand in these two countries.

“Samsung, which has a high proportion of low- to mid-priced smartphones, also suffered a significant decline in shipments as its sales of mid- to low-priced smartphones were affected by the economic recession across the regions and was forced to give up its first place to Apple.” 

The smartphone market in 2024 is expected to return to growth compared to last year, but Omdia predicts that it could decline in the second half of the year compared to last year due to the economic recovery delay, geopolitical instability, and the growing used phone market.



Chris Price
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